The 2020 Seattle Writing Workshop: April 25, 2020

Screen Shot 2016-12-25 at 10.34.26 PM.pngAfter a successful 2015, 2017, 2018, and 2019 events in Seattle, Writing Day Workshops is excited to announce The 2020 Seattle Writing Workshop — a full-day “How to Get Published” Online writers conference in Seattle, WA on April 25, 2020.

This writing event is a wonderful opportunity to get intense instruction over the course of one day, pitch a literary agent or editor (optional), get your questions answered, and more. Note that there are limited seats at the event (250 total). All questions about the event regarding schedule, details and registration are answered below. Thank you for your interest in the 2020 Seattle Writing Workshop!

(IMPORTANT MARCH 2020 UPDATE: The 2020 SWW is now an Online Conference to keep everyone safe. There is much more to say about this, but immediately you should understand 1) This will be easy and awesome, 2) You do not have to be tech-savvy to do this, and 3) We are keeping all aspects of the event, including one-on-one agent & editor pitching, which will now be done by Skype or phone. Learn all details about the new April 25 SWW Online Conference here and what everything means.)

WHAT IS IT?

This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” Online writers conference on Saturday, April 25, 2020, at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Seattle Bellevue. In other words, it’s one day full of classes and advice designed to give you the best instruction concerning how to get your writing & books published. We’ll discuss your publishing opportunities today, how to write queries & pitches, how to market yourself and your books, what makes an agent/editor stop reading your manuscript, and more. No matter what you’re writing — fiction or nonfiction — the day’s classes will help point you in the right direction. Writers of all genres are welcome.

This event is designed to squeeze as much into one day of learning as possible. You can ask any questions you like during the classes, and get your specific concerns addressed. We will have literary agents onsite to give feedback and take pitches from writers, as well. This year’s agent faculty so far includes:

  • literary agent Leslie Varney (Prentis Literary)
  • editor Alicia Clancy (Lake Union / Amazon)
  • literary agent Lauren Scovel (Laura Gross Literary)
  • literary agent Rob Arnold (Aevitas Creative Management)
  • literary agent Neal Swain (Wales Literary)
  • literary agent Amy Levenson (Blue Heron Literary)
  • literary agent Britt Siess (Martin Literary Management)
  • literary agent Tara Gilbert (Corvisiero Literary)
  • literary agent Cortney Radocaj (Belcastro Agency)
  • literary agent Garrett Alwert (Emerald City Literary Agency)
  • editors Jennifer Worick & Daniel Germain (Sasquatch Books & Little Bigfoot)
  • and more digital agents listed here

By the end of the day, you will have all the tools you need to move forward on your writing journey. This independent event is organized by coordinator Chuck Sambuchino of Writing Day Workshops.

EVENT LOCATION & DETAILS:

9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, April 25, 2020, at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Seattle Bellevue, 3225 158th Ave SE, Bellevue, WA 98008. (425)644-2500.

(IMPORTANT MARCH 2020 UPDATE: The 2020 SWW is now an Online Conference to keep everyone safe. There is much more to say about this, but immediately you should understand 1) This will be easy and awesome, 2) You do not have to be tech-savvy to do this, and 3) We are keeping all aspects of the event, including one-on-one agent & editor pitching, which will now be done by Skype or phone. Learn all details about the new April 25 SWW Online Conference here and what everything means.)

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THIS YEAR’S SESSIONS & WORKSHOPS (APRIL 24-26, 2020):

To make things easier, we are spreading the 2020 Seattle Writing Workshop out over three days — April 24 through April 26. As a reminder, all classes are recorded and emailed out to you afterward.

FRIDAY, APRIL 24, 2020

9:30 am – 10:30 am: An Overview of Your Publishing Options Today, taught by Chuck Sambuchino. This workshop examines the two largest routes any writer can take with their book: traditional publishing and self-publishing / e-publishing. We will examine the upsides of both routes, the challenges with both, and the next steps no matter what you decide. In today’s publishing world, a writer has to understand what they’re in for before they send their book out. This session is designed to prepare them for what’s to come and what options exist.

10:45 am – 11:45 am: Creating Perfectly Imperfect Characters, by Cody T Luff. The loveable rogue, the hardboiled detective, the beautiful assassin: all recognizable and entertaining tropes. Let’s go deeper into character. In this session, we’ll cover creating a dynamic character who lives on the page, who breaks just enough rules to not only garner the love of a reader but also to secure the interest of an agent and publisher.

1:15 pm – 2:30 pm. How to Apply the Five Most Powerful Methods of Story Creation to Your Novels, taught by Jim Rubart. In this class, an award-winning author will show you the five most powerful methods best-selling authors use to create their stories. Yes, there are time-tested formulas that always work—as well as proven building blocks you must understand and learn to apply to your novels and when generating new ideas. Plus, you’ll learn how you can harness the secrets of blockbuster movies and use these to develop stories that will draw the attention of editors, agents, and, ultimately, readers.

2:45 pm – 3:45 pm: How to Write and Sell Great Mysteries, Thrillers, and Crime Fiction, taught by Jim Rubart. This presentation will teach you how to keep readers—including agents and editors—turning pages late into the night. We will address pacing, plotting, and characterization to keep your mystery/thriller/suspense moving.

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm: How to Sell a Nonfiction Book, taught by Chuck Sambuchino. This session is completely devoted to nonfiction that is not memoir. So if you are trying to create an awesome nonfiction book proposal, this presentation is for you. With both a writer and agent to instruct and answers questions, the session will talk about platform, identifying your book’s place in the market, effective pitching, and more.

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SATURDAY, APRIL 25, 2020

9:30 am – 10:30 am: What to Expect When You’re Expecting: What Happens After You’ve Signed With an Agent, taught by Britt Siess. This presentation outlines the publishing process from the author’s point of view in order to shed some light on how exactly an agent gets you a book deal—and your role in the process. Beginning with querying, we will walk through signing with an agent, what to expect when going out on submission to editors, an author’s relationship with editors, and what happens between getting an offer for a book deal and holding a published book in your hands.

10:45 am – 11:45 am: Make Your First Five Pages Agent Ready, taught by Tara Gilbert. You have five pages to impress an agent–make them count. It takes a few paragraphs for an agent to know if they connect with the writing of a manuscript, and you have five pages to convince them they want to see more. We will take a look at what makes a great opening, what you need to successfully grab a reader’s attention, and leave them wanting more after five pages.

1:15 pm – 2:30 pm: “Writers Got Talent”—a Page 1 Critique Fest, with participating literary agents and editors. In the vein of “American Idol” or “America’s Got Talent,” this is a chance to get your first page read (anonymously — no bylines given) with attending agents commenting on what was liked or not liked about the submission. Get expert feedback on your incredibly important first page, and know if your writing has what it needs to keep readers’ attention. (All attendees are welcome to bring pages to the event for this session, and we will choose pages at random for the workshop for as long as time lasts. All submissions should be novels or memoir—no prescriptive nonfiction or picture books, please. Do not send your pages in advance. You will bring printed copies with you, and instructions will be sent out approximately one week before the event.)

2:45 pm – 3:45 pm: Writing the 8-Point Synopsis, taught by Amber Royer. Writing a synopsis may be one of the most stressful parts of the whole drafting-to-publishing process. But it proves to an agent or editor that you’re very clear on what your story is about (and can explain it succinctly). Your synopsis can also help as you draft, giving you a road map to hit the most important points. But how do you avoid overthinking it? This class will explore how to make sure the important moments in your story are happening to the right character, and that they all relate to the same overarching plot question.

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm: Introduction to Science Fiction & Fantasy Writing, taught by Amber Royer. In this class, you will learn the basics of speculative fiction writing (science fiction, fantasy and anything else with a “speculative” element). We will consider what does and does not fit into these genres, as well as how to distinguish between sub-genres such as steampunk and portal fantasy (important distinctions when you start to market your work). You will learn what mashups are, and how this genre is open to unconventional takes and new voices. We will cover how to bring originality to your story and how keeping things simple helps make it believable.

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SUNDAY, APRIL 26, 2020

9:30 am – 10:30 am: How to Market Yourself and Your Books: Talking Author Social Media, Blogging, and Platform, taught by Chuck Sambuchino. Whether you’re traditionally published or self-published, everyone could use some helpful guidance on how to effectively market themselves and sell more books. This session includes easy-to-understand advice on social media (Twitter, Facebook, more), blogging, and other simple ways you can market your work online cheaply and easily.

10:45 am – 11:45 am: How to Create Unique Stories with Deep Emotional Impact, taught by Jim Rubart. Editors, agents (and readers) long for stories that stand out, have a uniqueness, and make a powerful emotional impact. In this course, bestselling, award winning author Jim Rubart will show you how to discover, and develop, the life-altering stories that are likely already deep inside you.

1:15 pm – 2:30 pm: Everything You Need to Know About Agents and Query Letters, taught by Chuck Sambuchino. This workshop is a thorough crash course in dealing with literary agents. After quickly going over what an agent is and what they do for writers, we will discuss resources for finding agents, how to ID the best agents for you, query letter writing, as well as the most important things to do and not to do when dealing with representatives.

2:45 pm – 3:45 pm: How to Write Awesome Young Adult and Middle Grade, taught by Gabrielle Prendergast. Young adult and middle grade are hot markets today, but what does it really mean to write them? And how do you write YA and MG stories that connect with readers and keep them glued to the page? We’ll talk about YA and MG as categories: how they’re defined, and what audiences they’re aimed at. Then we’ll discuss the craft of writing them. From voice, to themes, characters, and plot, let’s explore how to write YA and MG stories that sell.

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm: Elevating Your Work: How to Create Children’s Picture Books That Are Not Just Entertaining, but Transformative, taught by Gabrielle Prendergast. Quality literature can help children navigate challenging situations but it can also expand their understanding of other people and places. A good book can be a vehicle for growth, inspiration, and empowerment. And the very best children’s books also utilize the very best art. It is the combination of carefully selected words and the accompanying illustrations, that makes a memorable, meaningful, and child relevant picture book. Discover how to create books that will impact children in a lasting way while embracing the transformative power of your work.

Agent & Editor Pitching: All throughout the day.

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PITCH AN AGENT OR EDITOR:

Screen Shot 2019-12-26 at 12.09.15 PMLeslie Varney is a literary agent and co-president of Prentis Literary. She specializes in adult speculative fiction — science fiction and fantasy — for adults, young adult, and middle grade. Leslie has also established herself as a specialist in genre-bending fiction, enthusiastically representing authors whose works defy easy classification. “I am pleased as punch that now I get to help authors bring new worlds, new ideas, and new magic to the literary world. I will always love the oral story-telling tradition, but my appreciation for the written work knows no bounds and I love being a part of bringing that passion to new readers.” Learn more about Leslie here.

Screen Shot 2020-01-08 at 4.03.34 PM.pngLauren Scovel is a literary agent at Laura Gross Literary Agency. Her fiction specialties are: GLBT, literary fiction, and multicultural. She will also consider humor/satire. Her nonfiction specialties are cultural/social issues, current affairs, GLBT, investigative journalism, multicultural, narrative, politics, true crime, and women’s concerns. She will also consider: history, memoir, and pets. Learn more about Lauren here.

Screen Shot 2020-01-14 at 4.27.27 PM.pngRob Arnold is a literary agent with Aevitas Creative Management. Rob is interested in literary fiction and nonfiction, graphic novels, memoir and biography, science, technology, art, and narrative nonfiction exploring issues of race and gender and class. Rob is a Chamorro writer whose work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has received support from the Somerville Arts Council and Artist Trust. Learn more about Rob here.

Screen Shot 2019-11-15 at 4.01.33 PMAlicia Clancy [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is an editor with Lake Union Publishing, an imprint of Amazon. Lake Union Publishing seeks absorbing works of contemporary and historical fiction for voracious readers. This includes literary fiction, mainstream fiction, upmarket / book club fiction, historical fiction, contemporary/domestic suspense, and women’s fiction. Learn more about Alicia here.

Screen Shot 2019-10-27 at 2.58.15 PMCortney Radocaj is a literary agent with Belcastro Agency. She is seeking young adult, new adult, and adult fiction in the following genres & categories: LGBTQIA+ (particularly F/F), neurodiversity, contemporary, horror, fantasy, science fiction, steampunk, cyberpunk, mythology/fairytale retellings, Gothic fiction (particularly Southern gothic), paranormal and magical realism. Learn more about Cortney here.

Screen Shot 2019-12-09 at 10.11.03 PMNeal Swain is a literary agent with Wales Literary. Subjects of interest for the agency are: mainstream and literary fiction, graphic novels, narrative-driven nonfiction and memoirs— with particular emphasis on science, nature, social justice, politics, health, food writing, and culture. Agency titles have appeared on the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and other national bestseller lists and earned strong reviews. Learn more about Neal here.

Screen Shot 2018-11-27 at 10.02.18 PM.pngAmy Levenson [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is the founding literary agent of Blue Heron Literary. She represents: mainstream literary and commercial fiction, and nonfiction in the areas of memoir, biography, narrative nonfiction, popular culture, and cookery. She is actively seeking non-fiction, especially with topics in heath and nutrition, cookbooks, lifestyle and popular culture. She is especially drawn to new trends or new takes on old favorites, strong voice and dynamic platforms, and is always susceptible to a good solid tug on the heart strings. Learn more about Amy here.

Screen Shot 2018-11-17 at 3.44.16 PM.pngBritt Siess [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a literary agent with Martin Literary Management. Britt looks for stories that are character driven and full of strong, resonating themes. She’s interested in literature that completely immerses readers into new worlds and that is imaginative and diverse. She also likes a little (dark) humor, and there must be stakes! She is particularly drawn to literature that makes us reflect on our own society and confront our choices. She is currently accepting adult fiction submissions for science fiction, fantasy, horror, and thriller. Britt is specifically looking for cyberpunk, steampunk, and speculative fiction. She seeks epic fantasy, high fantasy, historical fantasy, and retellings of myths and fairytales. Pitch her with gothic horror, and thrillers, magical realist literature (such as Wildwood and Elmet), and middle grade manuscripts with fantastical or supernatural elements. Learn more about Britt here.

Screen Shot 2019-03-30 at 2.52.20 PMTara Gilbert [SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS] is a jr. literary agent with Corvisiero Agency. At the 2020 Seattle conference, she is taking pitches on behalf of herself as well as co-agents. Personally, she is seeking all kinds of young adult and middle grade, adult sci-fi, adult fantasy, graphic novels, contemporary fiction, and romance. On behalf of co-agents, she will take pitches for historical novels, women’s fiction, mainstream/general fiction, and children’s picture books. Learn more about Tara here.

Screen Shot 2019-10-29 at 8.54.34 PMGarrett Alwert is an associate literary agent with Emerald City Literary Agency. He is actively seeking new clients. He and the agency represent young adult and middle grade — specifically in the areas of romance, thriller/mystery, magical realism and sci-fi (no kidlit fantasy for him). Learn more about Garrett here.

Screen Shot 2018-12-18 at 3.51.11 PM.pngScreen Shot 2019-12-18 at 11.14.09 PMJennifer Worick is the editorial director of Sasquatch Books. She is taking pitches beside associate editor Daniel Germain. They are seeking: “At Sasquatch, our adult acquisitions team acquires nonfiction books by Pacific Northwest authors, artists, influencers, and thought leaders on the following subjects: cookbooks, health and wellness, nature, house & home, self-help, craft and how-to, history, pop culture, and lifestyle, as well as memoir and books that capture the zeitgeist of our current culture in ways large and small.” Learn more about Jennifer and Daniel here.

Screen Shot 2019-10-22 at 7.02.44 PMBen Grange is a literary agent at L. Perkins Associates. Unfortunately, he is no longer attending the 2020 SWW.

 

 

         More 2020 agents to be announced as they are confirmed. You can sign up for pitches at any time, or switch pitches at any time, so long as the agent in question still has appointments open.

These one-on-one meetings are an amazing chance to pitch your book face-to-face with an agent, and get personal, individual feedback on your pitch/concept. If the agent likes your pitch, they’ll request to see part/all of your book — sending you straight past the slush pile. It also gives you an intimate chance to meet with an agent and pick their brain with any questions on your mind.

(Please note that Agent/Editor Pitching is an add-on, separate aspect of the day, for only those who sign up. Spaces are limited for these premium meetings, and pricing/detail is explained below.)

 

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(IMPORTANT MARCH 2020 UPDATE: The 2020 SWW is now an Online Conference to keep everyone safe. There is much more to say about this, but immediately you should understand 1) This will be easy and awesome, 2) You do not have to be tech-savvy to do this, and 3) We are keeping all aspects of the event, including one-on-one agent & editor pitching, which will now be done by Skype or phone. Learn all details about the new April 25 SWW Online Conference here and what everything means.)

PRICING:

$189 — EARLY BIRD base price for registration to the 2020 SWW and access to all workshops, all day. As of fall 2019, registration is now OPEN.

Add $29 — to secure a 10-minute one-on-one meeting with any of our literary agents or editors in attendance. Use this special meeting as a chance to pitch your work and get professional feedback on your pitch. (Spaces limited.) If they wish, attendees are free to sign up for multiple 10-minute pitch sessions at $29/session — pitching multiple individuals, or securing 20 minutes to pitch one person rather than the usual 10. Here are four quick testimonials regarding writers who have signed with literary agents after pitching them at prior Writing Day Workshops events. (Our bigger, growing list of success stories can be seen here.)

Screen Shot 2018-11-26 at 11.11.29 AM.png“I met my client, Alison Hammer, at the Writing
Workshop of Chicago and just sold her book.”
– literary agent Joanna Mackenzie of Nelson Literary

Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 11.47.54 PM.png“Good news! I signed a client [novelist Aliza Mann]
from the Michigan Writing Workshop!”
– literary agent Sara Mebigow of KT Literary

Screen Shot 2018-11-05 at 12.56.10 PM“I signed author Stephanie Wright from
the Seattle Writing Workshop.”
– literary agent Kathleen Ortiz of New Leaf Literary

Screen Shot 2018-05-17 at 9.07.44 PM“I signed an author [Kate Thompson] that I
met at the Philadelphia Writing Workshop.”
– literary agent Kimberly Brower of Brower Literary

Screen Shot 2016-10-16 at 2.54.50 PM.png“I signed novelist Kathleen McInnis after meeting her
at the Chesapeake Writing Workshop.”

– literary agent Adriann Ranta of Foundry Literary + Media

Add $69 — for an in-depth, personal critique of your one-page query letter from Chuck Sambuchino, one of the day’s previous instructors. (This rate is a special event value for Seattle Writing Workshop attendees only.) Registrants are encouraged to take advantage of the specially-priced critique, so they can send out their query letter with confidence following the workshop. Also, if you are meeting with an agent at the event, you’re essentially speaking your query letter aloud to them. Wouldn’t it be wise to give that query letter (i.e., your pitch) one great edit before that meeting?

Add $89 — for an in-depth personal critique of the first 10 pages of your novel. Spaces with faculty for these critiques are very limited, and participating attendees get an in-person meeting at the workshop. You can opt for as many critiques as you like. Options:

  • Young adult, middle grade, and children’s picture books: Faculty member Gabrielle Prendergast, author of YA / MG / PB books for kids, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your story, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting. For picture book critiques, 1,000 words maximum please (can include illustrations or not).
  • Science fiction, fantasy, mystery, thriller, suspense, romance (no erotica), contemporary/mainstream fiction, literary fiction, historical fiction, young adult (including genre YA and SF/F): Faculty member Amber Royer, author and writing instructor repped by Jennie Goloboy of Donald Maass Literary Agency, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your story, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting. When dealing with a manuscript, Amber focuses on sound psychological character creation, and will help you ensure that your characters are displaying agency right off the bat, which will ensure that your story has the kind of momentum agents and editors are looking for.
  • Science fiction, fantasy, paranormal and horror: Faculty member Cody T Luff, a published author, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your story, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss his thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.
  • Suspense, mystery, thriller, crime: Faculty member Jim Rubart, a published suspense author, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your story, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss his thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.
  • Memoir, women’s fiction, romance, children’s picture books, literary fiction, mainstream fiction, young adult (all kinds), middle grade (all kinds): Faculty member Eve Porinchak, a freelance editor and former literary agent, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, and pass along written critique notes. Unlike the other critquers at the Seattle event, Eve will not be there in person. Instead Eve is happy to have her 10-minute meetings with writers over the phone or Skype, either before or after the event. For picture book critiques, 1,000 words maximum please (can include illustrations or not).
  • Adult science fiction and fantasy, young adult (all kinds), adult mysteries and thrillers, and literary fiction: Faculty member Jason Kirk, a freelance editor and former acquiring editor for Amazon, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your story, meet with you for at least 10 minutes at the workshop to discuss his thoughts, and pass along written critique notes at the meeting.

How to pay/register — Registration is now open. Reach out to workshop organizer Chuck Sambuchino via email: writingdayworkshops@gmail.com, and he will provide specific instructions for payment and registration to get you a reserved seat at the event. Payment is by either PayPal or check. Because Chuck plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Seattle workshop specifically.

REGISTRATION:

Are spaces still available? Yes, we still have spaces available for the online event. We will announce RIGHT HERE, at this point on this web page, when all spaces are taken. If you do not see a note right here saying how all spaces are booked, then yes, we still have room, and you are encouraged to register.

How to Register: The easy first step is simply to reach out to workshop organizer Chuck Sambuchino via email: writingdayworkshops@gmail.com. He will pass along registration information to you, and give instructions on how to pay by PayPal or check. Once payment is complete, you will have a reserved seat at the event. The SWW will send out periodic e-mail updates to all registered attendees with any & all news about the event. Because Chuck plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Seattle workshop specifically.

Refunds: If you sign up for the event and have to cancel for any reason at any time, you will receive 50% of your total payment back [sent by check or PayPal]. The other 50% is nonrefundable and will not be returned, and helps the workshop ensure that only those truly interested in the limited spacing sign up for the event. (Please note that query editing payments and manuscript editing payments are completely non-refundable if the instructor has already edited your work.)

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Thank you for your interest in the 2020 Seattle Writing Workshop.